Reducing Paper Printer Waste

Printer paper is one of the greatest sources of waste in the typical office despite the rise of electronic media and technology.  Part of the problem lies with habit.  We are used to seeing things in print and taking a hands-on approach to working with documents. Breaking this cycle can reduce businesses’ impact on the environment and help pave the way to the truly paperless office.

Sorting through files and old documents is a great way to get started. Nothing sets the tone for a paperless office like clearing out the clutter already there. Houston paper shredding companies can come directly to your business and destroy unneeded paperwork. The “clean slate” in your office will set the tone for new policies on paper reduction.

Keep in mind these simple rules:

You don’t have to hold it to read it.

Emails and documents don’t have to be printed for you to read them. If you want to save correspondence for future reference, it’s easy to set up file folders on your computer for various clients and projects, just like you would do if you were using paper files. Want to share a document with someone else? Forward it or attach it as a PDF file. PDF is one of the greatest tools we can utilize to save paper – any document can be sent and read by anyone in this universal format.

Be aware of what you’re printing.

How many times have you printed a large document only to realize you didn’t need half of it? Don’t click the “print” button without first pausing and asking yourself if you really need to print. If so, check out a print preview of the document first. Can you highlight particular sections and print only those? What about cutting out unnecessary illustrations or graphics that require a lot of paper and ink to print? A few moments of thought can translate into considerable savings. Add those savings up over a year’s time, and the difference can be significant.

Don’t toss printed paper.

When you do print something, don’t discard it if one side of the paper is blank. Houston paper shredding companies report shredding thousands of pounds of paper every year that is blank on one side. You can use this paper a second time, to print drafts on one side, or as scratch paper. Doing this alone can save thousands of pounds of paper, translating to hundreds of trees saved each year in Houston alone.

Scan, don’t copy.

It can be difficult to break the habit of copying documents for safekeeping, as a backup, or “just in case,” but next time you feel the urge to copy a document, scan it instead, and save it to a folder on your computer. If you need a hard copy, you can print it later.

Reward customer conversions.

Give customers an extra incentive to go paperless. If they prefer paper invoices, offer a discount or extension if they will transition to electronic invoices from your company. The savings you will see by not printing, mailing, storing, and shredding paper correspondence is worth the effort it takes to ask your clients to convert.

Implementing the steps above won’t be easy for some employees who enjoy the ease of paper files they can pick up and flip open, but the waste they produce is substantial. Encourage participation and lead by example. You’ll soon see real changes as employees realize how seldom they really need to print a document.